Thorpe Moeckel


Collapse of Season

Then a cloud split the sun
into three. Only for a minute, long enough
to look around. Had the trillium

It had opened. Picture
a red tailed with a buzzard’s head
and bluebird’s breast. Give it
a pileated’s beak

and fixation. What’s more 
delirious than spring? Even the stones
in the garden had taken off
their shirts. Even

the butterflies were blossoms
with roots of air. February, June – the day
wore two faces, & the light
was running in

every direction: llama light, 
of sheep, & the palomino sweeping the field
with its tail. What about the tulips
that had once

been dandelions, or the water
updrainage, washing its face on the quartz?-
Rappahannock, it whispered.
Spathed light,

maple’s blood buds like garnet dust
on the fields. Glints of clover, first nettles. Soft
and changeable, a wattage past
passion, of easing

into pleasure. A fire, if there’d been
a fire, would have been the only thing not burning.
Shine of menses, dervishing,
the wind leafy

with soon-to-be kale, chard, collards.
Plugged in, yes, & the center surrounded us
brightly. Not like a circle.
But shot through.


Night Walk

Maybe the eyes are only just at night, if they can be just at all

when open. Maybe everything seen is seen again, but not now.
              Now, what’s fixed moves, and what moves
isn’t there. Now, as trees sliver in their roots, the limbs

dispense another remedy for shallow breathing. Far off
              there’s barking, and then it’s gone but there

as when a sharp pain in the chest subsides, or the land & the sky
trade places. It’s clear that dirt is blood’s remix, that there
              is space available, so many square feet,

but whether the smilax & chokecherry wire some divinity,

whether the wires escape their conduit, like bedhead, or a visual
of the kingfisher’s manic chatter, is less clear. The dark’s weird;

              to say the pokeweed berries grows wiser,
for instance, or that the elm becomes a segment of Solid Gold,
              each limb a toll way of throb & sway

where memory is the DJ, spinning the vinyl of what comes next,
              is so much thanksgiving traffic.
                           But here we are

              watching the moon’s humors dilate
with each passing cloud, watching the mountain laurel do its best
                           to be bamboo.



Thorpe Moeckel won the 2000 Gerald Cable Book Award for his collection, Odd Botany. Author, too, of a chapbook, Meltlines, his work appears in many journals, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Chapel Hill.